January 7, 2009

Jeppesen, Fisher Lead In South Africa

Eight-under 63s secure the lead for Steven Jeppesen and Trevor Fisher in the European Tour's first event of 2009

Jeppesen's (left) best finish in 2008 was a T-21 while Fisher's was a T-14.

Jeppesen's (left) best finish in 2008 was a T-21 while Fisher's was a T-14.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- Sweden's Steven Jeppesen and South Africa's Trevor Fisher Jr. shot 8-under 63s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the Joburg Open.

Jeppesen and Fisher opened on the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club's West Course. They will play the final three rounds on the East Course.

Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey shot a 64 in the event sanctioned by the European and Sunshine tours. Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, Edoardo Molinari, Patrik Sjoland, Andrew McLardy, Rafael Cabrera Bello and David Drysdale had 65s.

South African star Retief Goosen opened with a 70.

Defending champion Richard Sterne had a 71. The South African is trying to tie the European tour record of three consecutive victories set by Nick Faldo in 1983 and matched by Seve Ballesteros in 1986. Sterne won the South African Open on Dec. 21 at Pearl Valley for his second straight victory, beating Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin in a playoff. Sterne won the Alfred Dunhill on Dec. 14 at Leopard Creek.